(PP.6) A poem by Ken Lewington

Crystal Palace Park Ridge

Before they topple, before they fall,
Let's go out together to visit them all -
The plane trees that grace the place
Where the Palace once stood.

Before the chainsaw, before the hook,
Let's stroll up together for just one more look
At the dappley, appley green and brown,
That breathes the life into our town.
But we won't stay around to see them come down.

Before the grinder and big JCB,
Let's take one shard of bark, so our children can see
How they measured their lives as they grew tall and strong,
Before it went wrong; so terribly wrong.
And the owl and the blackbird ran out of song.

Before it all happens, you surely must know,
That this isn't the way for our youngsters to grow
To the 21st Century, foxed by it all,
With no foxes, just hot dogs for sale on the mall.
And the fat cats and vultures all having a ball.

Before they decide on the final design,
Shall we now simply sit back and thus resign
Ourselves to a Century piled high with dross,
'cause they don't give a toss
For flora and fauna and fungi and moss.

Before the "if only", before it's too late,
Will we stand up, be counted, get somewhat irate,
Or curl up and hide as our true birthright dies,
For a 'vision' that's tunnel, blinkered, unwise.
And the first plane tree falls, with its tears in our eyes.


Ken Lewington


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3/9/99 Last updated 3/9/99